4. Priscilla Presley gave birth nine months to the day that she and Elvis were married – Shotgun was more than just a song by Jr. Walker and the All Stars. It was probably the prime factor in the nuptials between The King of Rock and Roll and Miss Pruh-cill-uh-huh. The late-Sixties, even though it was a time of social upheaval and turbulent sexual attitude adjustments, still had a few no-nos to stare down. One of them was children born out of wedlock. RCA had a “morals clause” in their contract with Presley. Priscilla was a minor, and Presley’s former Sun Records labelmate Jerry Lee Lewis knew what “cradle-robbing” could do to your career.
So, Elvis and Priscilla were married in May 1967. Lisa Marie was born in February 1968. You can do the math.
Elvis did not want to be married, according to many published accounts. Priscilla said a few years later that she and he would have been perfectly happy to just live together, but it just was not done in those days. Further details, though stated to be only rumors, were that Priscilla’s dad was the driving force behind their marriage, having called out Elvis for being with her for four years and not making her an “honest woman.” Presumably this came before news of the baby. After that, the wedding was inevitable.
There is still a small clique of folks who believe that Elvis’ sperm was just so potent and prescient, he impregnated her in the warmth of their wedding bed. We call these folks goobers.
3. Sufjan Stevens says he will record a concept album for every state in the union – Dude, keep your mouth shut!
This one depends on who you ask. It certainly looked like Sufjan Stevens intended to record an album for every state. Perhaps he would have if everything went as it did on Michigan. The album was received fairly well and other tracks written and/or recorded at the same time appeared later as Seven Swans. There was no pressure. Michigan was an earnest effort but not the savior of indie music. That unfortunate distinction fell to the follow up Illinois (or as it was cheekily called on the record Come On, Feel The Ill-noise). Let’s not take anything away from Illinois as an achievement. Spread across two discs of vinyl, the songs on the collection are deserving of recognition. Stevens’ ambitions for a massive chamber pop and folksy recording struck a chord with critics and listeners that few other releases that year could have. Stevens went from quirky auteur working in the relative obscurity of the pop underground to a cause celeb.
And then people started asking for it. “What’s the next state album?” “When is it coming?” “Can I help you with details so you can get my state right?” And as we will see later in this list, pestering can lead to some harsh realities and even harsher reactions. The harsh reality if Stevens really was up for a recording project such as this is that it is a massive undertaking encompassing not just fifty odd songs, but probably fifty odd years. He would have invariably given over his entire career and most of his life to a single idea, and that is as limiting and daunting as it sounds.
It also means that if you are serious, you’d have to do research. Nobody will be interested in ten songs about how small Rhode Island is, or whether New Jersey deserves its bad reputation, or whether Texans really are born with a revolver in each hand. As a writer, that might be a suitable creative muse. As a musician, not so much. So it might be that Stevens only grasped this in hindsight and backtracked.
Or maybe he’s being serious now when he says, “I was just kidding! God, don’t be so literal!” While that stance solves a lot of the nagging that devotees of Illinois have spewed, it does not really solve the problem of Stevens’ diminishing returns. Later albums with classical musicians, or the largely electronic The Age Of Adz, have also been determined as good efforts but failed to capture the same adoration and attention. His twisted and bizarre Christmas collections took hold mostly for how un-P.C. his sentimentality has presented itself. He could have continued on with the state albums and experienced the same disinterests, with people claiming he took a joke too far. He could announce in 2014 the attempt to revive the state album project and be seen as retreating into former successes, or simply as a crotchety liar. He’s in kind of a bind. But damn, wasn’t Illinois just a killer record?
2. Lost was not about purgatory – Lost was so about purgatory!
The bigger debate was whether the Lost finale was good or bad, and the factions seem evenly split between the two. But even after the finale aired, Lost honcho Damon Lindlof was still waffling about what it was and was not, and couldn’t see why a segment of his audience had a problem with that.